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Faecal microbiota transplantation as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a national survey of adult and paediatric gastroenterologists in the UK


Background Interest in the use of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has increased following outcomes in patients with Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). While research exploring clinician awareness and attitude towards the use of FMT in CDI has been carried out, data for IBD are currently lacking.

Objective To assess the perceptions of gastroenterologists and current practice relating to FMT as a treatment for IBD in the UK.

Design A web-based survey (Snap Survey software) was distributed through the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) and British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition e-newsletters, and at the BSG Conference in June 2017.

Results 61 respondents completed the survey including presubspecialty trainees, gastroenterology specialists, associate specialists and consultants. Most (95%; n=58) respondents stated that they had heard of FMT being used as a treatment for IBD prior to participating in the survey. Based on current evidence, 34% (n=21) of respondents would consider using FMT in patients with IBD, 26% (n=16) would not and 39% (n=24) were undecided. When asked to rank routes of delivery in terms of preference, nasogastric tube was the least preferred route (39%; n=24) and oral capsule was the most preferred route (34%; n=21).

Conclusions A clear majority of UK gastroenterologists recognise FMT as a potential treatment for IBD; however, uptake is limited. A proportion of clinicians would consider FMT in IBD and the majority would consider entering patients into clinical trials. Future work should explore the utility and efficacy of oral FMT capsules in IBD.

  • ulcerative colitis
  • IBD
  • crohn’s disease

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